Adverb phrases

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Adverb phrases

Although they may occur in many types of phrases, adverb phrases (AdvPs) typically modify a verb within a verb phrase (for example, ran much faster) or a whole clause (for example, Fortunately the rest of the team arrived just before the bus left). An AdvP takes an adverb as its head. Many AdvPs can occur in several positions within a clause; for example, very sincerely can occur in any one of the positions marked † in the clause below:

† Xavier † apologised † to the rest of the group †


1. Adverb phrase dependents

2. Functions of the adverb phrase

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Adverb phrase dependents

Most dependents within an AdvP are themselves AdvPs (for example, quite rapidly). Certain types of adverb can take a preceding degree adverb (for example, most disappointingly). Modifying prepositional phrases (for example, the PP for an eighty-year-old in the AdvP quickly for an eighty-year-old) or modifying clauses (for example, faster than anyone expected) follow the head. Some adverbs can also be modified by NPs (for example, an hour late) or determiners (for example, that happily).

Some adverbs cannot have dependents, for example, therefore, now, here.

Adverb phrases can also take complements which follow the head. Complements are typically prepositional phrases (for example, of the family in the AdvP independently of the family) or clauses (for example, faster than anyone expected).

Functions of the adverb phrase

AdvPs function as modifiers of the head in various types of phrases, or as modifiers of the clause.

The most common phrases which contain AdvP modifiers are verb phrases, for example, strolled jauntily, AdjPs, for example, rather disappointed, and other AdvPs, for example, very forcefully.

In some instances they can also modify noun phrases, for example, [an increase]NP globally, PPs for example, practically [beside herself]PP or determiners for example, virtually [every]Det one.

Many AdvPs can modify whole clauses, for example, Most surprisingly everybody completed the course.

Some AdvPs connect clauses in discourse, for example, The oven fuse blew after thirty minutes. Nevertheless the cake turned out fine.

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Adverb phrases

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